It may seem nonsensical that so many people are drawn to stories of apocalypse in movies, TV, and comics. What’s enjoyable about seeing humanity in peril and civilization destroyed?
There may not be one sure answer, but a couple things are certain: a dangerous, post-apocalyptic world sets the stage for conflict and adversity, which make stories interesting, and sometimes a dramatically fictionalized setting makes stories more accessible and evocative than hyper-realistic settings.
Regardless of the reason, if you’re entertained by dystopian stories, you may want to check out the new comic series Geiger by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Here are a few things that make it stand out.
Main Character: Tariq Geiger
The main character and namesake of the series is known by other names as well, like Joe Glow or Meltdown Man.
The series begins with him working to protect his family, who are trapped in a shelter that protects them from the lawless, radioactive wasteland in which the series is set, but prevents Geiger from being with them. Geiger is Arab American, like creator Johns, and it is the interference of prejudiced neighbors that initially prevents him from sheltering with his family.
Geiger himself carries powers that he got after surviving the nuclear fallout that destroyed Nevada and separated him from his family. Though his abilities may be better described as a strange curse, and he suffers constantly with the anguish of being separated from his family, Geiger will stop at nothing to protect his loved ones from scavengers and many other threats.
Location: Outskirts of Las Vegas
Although some characters in the series hail from Sin City, much of Geiger’s difficult life plays out in the surrounding desert of Nevada, where his family is sheltered.
Discussing world-building for Geiger, Johns explains in the video below, “We wanted this place to be strange and wonderful and bizarre, and you meet all these insane, crazy folks. …”
You might be thinking, “Isn’t that how Vegas is on a regular basis?” That’s a fair point, but when you combine the glamour and indulgence of Las Vegas, the harsh desert climate of Nevada, and nuclear fallout, you get a different kind of strange and wonderful — in the case of Geiger, dramatic colors on every page and stakes heightened by the inherent dangers of living in a radioactive desert.
Environment: Aftermath of Nuclear Fallout
The aftermath of the nuclear bombings in this series deeply affects the characters, setting, and overall reading experience. In addition to Geiger and his internalized radioactivity, other zany characters come up who have found various methods of survival in the scarce, cutthroat dystopia they live in.
The characters and location in Geiger are made more intense and compelling by the apocalyptic circumstances of the story, but this comic series also uses the dystopian setting to explore themes of personal struggle and family.
Geiger goes through hardship protecting his family and recovering from his own experiences, and as a brand new, well-developed comic book character, he’s likely to draw you in as easily as the scary, exciting setting of this series.